The college admissions process gives rise to great excitement, adventure, and struggle for all kids. If your child has learning disabilities (LD) and/or attention deficit disorder (ADD), the process becomes even more challenging. Every family needs to ask prospective colleges myriad questions, but you will need to ask more. The more specific information you gather early on, the easier the task will be.
Work in partnership with your teen’s resource teachers and counselors to generate lists of support services and techniques that they use now. For example, if your child uses note takers, ask prospective colleges what type of note taking services they offer. Also ask these questions:
- How long have your LD and/or ADD service programs been in place?
- Are textbooks on tape available?
- Is specialized and/or one-on-one tutoring available?
- Are there student support groups on campus?
Finally, visit the campuses that interest your child. Arrange for him or her to attend classes with LD and/or ADD students. Attending some classes, and spending a night in the dorm, often resolves the college decision. Your teen needs to be comfortable with his or her college choice. College will be home for the next few years, and you want your child to be happy and productive there. For LD and/or ADD students, feeling safe and supported sets the stage for a successful college career.
—Jill F. VonGruben